WEIRDLAND: "Brooklyn" is Oscar-worthy, romantic clips

Thursday, February 25, 2016

"Brooklyn" is Oscar-worthy, romantic clips

"One day the sun will come out, you might not even notice straight away, it will be that faint. And you will catch yourself thinking about something or someone who has no connection with the past. Someone who’s only yours. And you’ll realize that this is where your life is." -Eilis Lacey in Brooklyn

Brooklyn (2015) CLIP - "I Wanna Ask You Something" - Saoirse Ronan & Emory Cohen

"Inwardness is a great challenge for filmmakers. The human face is a wall as well as a window. Words lose their power. Ronan uses everything - her posture, her eyebrows, her breath, her teeth, her pores - to convey a process of change both seismic and subtle. Eilis is in transit, and to some degree in limbo, caught between two stages of life. By the end of Brooklyn she is no longer who she was, even as she seems like someone we always knew." -A. O. Scott

"The magic of Brooklyn can’t be analyzed, but something in the richness of its relationships puts an essential truth before us — the brevity and immensity of life. We know all about that, of course, but that’s the beauty of great art: It takes what you already know and makes you feel it." -Mick LaSalle

One film that doesn’t appear to be given much of a shot to walk away with the trophy is Brooklyn, which is a shame. Maybe it won’t win, but here’s why it should: Brooklyn isn’t the showiest film in the list of best Oscar nominees. We’re talking about a subtle, understated picture that’s quietly moving and full of meticulous period detail that fully immerses the viewer in the world of 1950s New York City.

Everything in Brooklyn revolves around Saoirse Ronan, and her Eilis is simply one of the most nuanced, fully rendered characters of the year. At the beginning of the film, she is quiet and mousey and shy, browbeaten by her evil witch of a boss in a small Irish grocery, a passive character with little to no self-determination. You scarcely see the change, until she returns to Ireland and you realize that she is an entirely different person than she was when she left. What Saoirse Ronan delivers is easily the best performance in a young, but already remarkably accomplished career, and she may very well be deserving of her own Oscar. 

While Saoirse Ronan is the star around which the rest of the galaxy of Brooklyn revolves, the unsung MVP is Emory Cohen, playing Tony Fiorello, the Brooklyn Dodgers-obsessed son of Italian immigrants, and Eilis’ love interest. Goofy and sweet, he could easily have fallen into a one-note, nice-guy role, but he brings a charm and great depth and emotion to what could have otherwise been a flat supporting turn.

Tony provides something that pulls her back, that makes her decision less simple and cut and dried. Without what he brings to the character, the key choice at the center of Brooklyn wouldn’t carry the weight it does. Regardless of how many, if any, trophies it takes home, Brooklyn is a movie that you need to take the time to see and that will continue to hold up over the years. Source:

By contrast with Horatio Alger’s ambition-driven male heroes, Eilis’ passive attitude initially makes her a difficult character to identify with. One night, asked to escort a new tenant to the church dance, Eilis meets Tony (Cohen), a working-class plumber with a thing for Irish girls. He’s the kind of guy Marlon Brando managed to capture the year prior in “A Streetcar Named Desire,” and though the role lacks Tennessee Williams’ complexity, Cohen seems no less committed in his Method-like intensity than Brando did. Tony may be a tough Italian, but he’s fallen head-over-heels for Eilis, waiting for her outside her accounting-school night classes and putting everything on the line the first time he professes his love, or the moment he takes her to Long Island to survey what could be their future home. Source:

Tony’s vulnerability and need are truly precious things, lifted from Tóibín’s warm sketch and made tenderly unforgettable in Cohen’s hands. This actor previously made a bold, riskily irritating impression as Bradley Cooper’s teenage junkie son in The Place Beyond the Pines. Anyone who wrote him off as one-note or mannered there needs to see the whole freeform sonata he plays with this part – he seems to live and breathe the role of a tough-for-show romantic, a shyly persistent and ardent young guy whose future Eilis may or may not want part of.

The baby-step ascent of his expectations is Brooklyn’s secret weapon as storytelling. When Eilis offers him the prim, throwaway gift of two further dates at the pictures, not just the one, the surge of hope and dumbstruck joy on Cohen’s face could light up every matinee screen in the land. Source:

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